City Council discusses road district, open burning permits

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The Plains City Council discussed many items at the March 6 meeting, including the road district, Plains Day, and a proposed subdivision.

The council learned that the road district might not happen the early part of this year, as paperwork had to be completed and submitted to Sanders County by Jan. 1.

“The request of $50,000 may not be enough with the condition of our roads. It should be increased to $75,000 or more,” Mayor Greg Eitelberg said.

Eitelberg indicated he would have a town meeting to get public input on the road district issue. Rich Gephardt, the lawyer for Plains, said that the process has to start over to be correct.

The mayor, City Council, and city attorney discussed the burn permit ordinance and procedures to obtain a permit.

“We are trying to come up with something that will work for us,” Eitelberg said. “Our ordinance says we will go out and look at the location where the burn will happen.”

Gephardt indicated he did not see that particular requirement in the ordinance.

“The fire chief or a designated person can review,” he said.

The city lawyer had examples of how Thompson Falls and the county have been doing burn permits and their current ordinances. Council members mentioned the open burning times are the same as the county. After much discussion about how the office staff was completing the permit and there was no signature of the person applying for the permit, it was decided the burn permit would be revised and the ordinance would be attached to the permit. The applicant would then be walked through the ordinance and the burn permit.

Mark Rohweder from KLJ Engineering was present and spoke about the city’s preliminary engineering report.

“It is 75 percent complete right now and we plan to send it completed to the mayor,” he said. “It will be sent by email.”

There will be open public meetings in the future to discuss this project, gather public input and draft a final report. The final draft of the engineering report could be done by early April.

A subdivision of Warren Wiccum’s property near the Forest Service was discussed by the council members. The land will be divided into two parcels and the utility, water, and sewer lines are all in place at this time.

There appeared to be nothing holding back the subdivision of the property, according to the members of the planning board.

There has been concern expressed because the property is located on a dead-end, leading to questions about whether people could get out during an emergency. The access road will not be paved and will be open for emergency vehicles. A 30-foot easement was discussed and it was determined the subdivision can proceed as planned. A motion was made and voted upon to unanimously accept the recommendation made by the planning board for the subdivision.

Members of the Plains Business Association were present to discuss Plains Day. This year’s theme for Plains Day is “Building Community.” The Business Association requested the reservation of space on the greenway in front of the railroad tracks for the car show, vintage campers, and vendors to set up. The council OK’d the request.

It was noted by the members of the Business Association that Plains Day this year would be held on June 3, which is a Saturday. The association will meet March 21 at the Clark Fork Valley Hospital event center (building 2) and shore up more planning of Plains Day and the remainder of the year.

In other business, the water and sewer report indicated the loss of water was 22 percent, which equals 1.15 million gallons of water. This water loss was more than the water loss of 9 percent the previous month.

“That may have been a pipe froze up and is now leaking,” Eitelberg said.

There was also a sewer line plugged up and the cleanup crew from Missoula was sent out at a cost of $571.20. A residence needed to be cleaned up at a cost of $886.35. Water was frozen at one business and a residence. The city had to take water to both locations.

Reporter Douglas Wilks can be reached at dwilks@vp-mi.com or 406-826-3402.

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